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Gunflint Lodge at dusk.

Photo courtesy of Gunflint Lodge,

Historic Gunflint Lodge for sale after 84 years of Kerfoot family ownership

  • Associated Press
  • October 27, 2013 - 5:56 PM

DULUTH, Minn. — The historic Gunflint Lodge resort in northern Minnesota is on the market.

Bruce and Sue Kerfoot told the Duluth News Tribune for a story published Sunday (http://bit.ly/18rq7AD ) that they're selling the resort on the edge of the wilderness, which has been in their family for 84 years.

The asking price is $6.7 million. The 100-acre resort, 43 miles up the Gunflint Trail from the nearest town, Grand Marais, includes a half-mile of shoreline on Gunflint Lake with views into Canada on the opposite shore.

"We are coming off our best financial year ever in the history of the resort. ... But Sue and I want to enjoy a little time in the pasture before we check out for good," said Bruce Kerfoot, 74, who was born in a log cabin at the resort.

Bruce and Sue Kerfoot took over Gunflint Lodge in the late 1960s from Bruce's mother, Justine Kerfoot, who had joined with her mother to buy it in 1929 from the Blankenburg family, which founded it in 1925.

The couple transformed the rustic fishing resort and canoe outfitting service into an upscale year-round, full-service establishment. They found a niche among high-end tourists willing to pay a premium for a more refined vacation deep in the north woods — from hot tubs and horseback riding to a highly rated restaurant.

The Kerfoots have already purchased their retirement home just down the trail on Tucker Lake.

"It just won't be the same along the trail without a Kerfoot running Gunflint Lodge," said Fred Smith, a Gunflint Lake resident and past president of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society. "That family is an institution up here. They are great businesspeople. But they are also great people. ... They have done so much for the community up here."

That includes, among other efforts, helping form the historical society and helping sow the seeds decades ago for what has become the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department, which has played an important role in fighting forest fires along the 57-mile road.

The Minnesota Resort & Campground Association announced Friday that the Kerfoots have been inducted into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame.

© 2014 Star Tribune